Distance Between Dreams premiere

The West Coast premier of Distance Between Dreams, featuring Ian Walsh, presented by Red Bull Media, has been designated as a Deep Blue Event™. The film follows renowned big wave surfer, Ian Walsh and friends, as they ride massive waves during an El Nino winter. The film premiered on February 16, 2017, at the historic La Paloma Theater in Encinitas, California.

A Deep Blue Event is a more “Ocean Friendly” event that sets a clear path for reducing environmental and community impacts of a surfing-related contest or event. This sustainability report is a transparent description of the sustainability performance of the event, and includes measured data, photos and videos, and suggestions for improvement. It is based on the international standard for sustainable event reporting – the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Deep Blue Events address impacts directly related to the production of the event, including waste reduction, protection of natural resources, and the building of stronger communities. They also reduce direct threats to the global sport of surfing itself, such as: sea level riseocean acidification, and the loss of the world’s living coral reefs, which leading scientific institutions warn are already harming our oceans, waves and beaches.

* The 2017 Distance Between Dreams film premier by Red Bull has exceeded the minimum requirements in three of the five categories measured (Waste Diversion, and Climate Change).

To receive a Deep Blue Event designation, an event is required to reduce environmental and social impacts of the event. It must also develop a data collection plan to measure performance on impact reduction, and this data must show that it has met minimum goals for at least two of the five major categories of environmental and social impacts.

Sustainability Performance Summary:

  1. Waste Diversion:  62% of waste diverted from landfill
  2. Climate Change: 100% of CO2 footprint mitigated (26 tons CO2e)
  3. Community Support: Supported one local environmental group
  4. Renewable Energy: Electricity use was minimal and supplied by grid electricity
  5. Transportation: Did not provide or promote alternative transportation for athletes, staff, and spectators


*The 2017 Distance Between Dreams film premier by Red Bull has exceeded the minimum goal for Waste Diversion with a total diversion ratio of 62%

Green Guidelines Recommendation: Implement a comprehensive management and diversion strategy to limit event waste. Minimum goal is 25% of total event waste is diverted from landfill.

The event used a front-of-house waste diversion strategy to achieve its recycling goals. First, all food service cups and straws were replaced with PLA recyclable versions. Event waste collection used trash stations multiple containers, to separate out PLA plastic, recycling, waste food, paper, and trash. Each trash station had a volunteer that helped to ensure all waste was put into the proper receptacle. Volunteers came from The Ecology Center.

A water refilling station was provided for guests to fill up their single-use water bottles.

This front-of-house strategy worked well, because it captured a high percentage of the recyclable materials. It also ensured that each type of recyclable material would be sent to the proper recycling facility. Titus MRF Services accepted all recyclable materials. The PLA containers are being used by an experimental recycling company to make 3D-printing substrate from recycled PLA.

The total recyclable material collected weighed 22.2 lbs. The total material collected in the bins weighed 35.7 lbs, so the waste diversion rate was 62%.

Suggestions for improvement: Some aspect of waste diversion can be improved for the next event. Unfortunately, the food waste consisted primarily of popcorn, which is resistant to composting, so the food waste was sent to the landfill. Also, the popcorn containers did not use recyclable or compostable materials, because there was not time to source these containers before the event. In the future, make sure that all containers are recyclable or compostable.

The 2017 Red Bull Distance Between Dreams event supported one local non-profit organization.

Green Guidelines Recommendation: Support and showcase the efforts of local environmental and social organizations, and include them as stakeholders for possible event legacy efforts. Minimum goal is to support at least one NGO working on a local issue relevant to the event.

The event collaborated with local nonprofit organization, The Ecology Center, by engaging them in the zero-waste efforts directly related to the onsite activations. Efforts were also made during the event to highlight the wider work of The Ecology Center to the event participants.

Suggested improvements: We recommend providing more visibility for local charity partners by providing more prominent table space, or by including them into into an onsite activation like a raffle operated by the beneficiary non-profit.

The 2017 Red Bull Distance Between Dreams event has exceeded the minimum goal for Climate Impact through offsetting 100% of the measured CO2 footprint of the event.

Green Guidelines Recommendation: Calculate the total CO2 footprint of event, and mitigate it by purchasing verified carbon offset credits or otherwise through direct actions taken at event. Minimum Goal: 50% of CO2 footprint of event offset or mitigated.

The total overall estimated footprint for the event is 26 tons CO2e. The most significant contributor to the CO2e total was by air travel by Ian Walsh and other guests of honor. Also included are emissions from car travel to the event by Red Bull staff.

Mitigating the event’s CO2 footprint helps reduce direct threats to surfing from climate change/global warming such as: sea level rise, ocean acidification, reduced wave heights and loss of coral reefs globally.

The 2017 Red Bull Distance Between Dreams event has offset 100% of these carbon emissions for the event with verified carbon credits from the Alto Mayo Rainforest project in Peru.

The Alto Mayo protected forest in Peru is twice the size of New York City. Despite its protected status, the forest has experienced deforestation due to an increased population, a national highway, and the vast amount of land that needs supervision. It has also suffered from unsustainable farming practices, especially for coffee. To help protect the forest, this project teamed up with local communities and government to provide economic incentives to the local people in exchange for taking care of the land.

By purchasing offsets from this project, Red Bull helps to do the following:

  • Fight deforestation and thus reduce an average of 500,000 tonnes of carbon pollution annually
  • Protect 400+ birds and 3,000 plant species, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth
  • Rejuvenation of the forest which provides fresh water to 240,000 people living downstream
  • Coffee produced in the Alto Mayo has achieved Organic Certification, giving a price premium to farmers, thereby raising household incomes
  • Over 600 families directly benefit from project activities, including improved coffee yields and food security

Suggested improvements: There are no suggested improvements to reduce the event’s carbon footprint. Red Bull’s commitment to 100% offset purchases is the best solution to the carbon footprint of the event.

* The 2017 Distance Between Dreams event used grid electric power for the event. All electrical-based carbon emissions were offset.

Green Guidelines Recommendation: Source significant portion of power from clean, renewable energy sources. Minimum goal is 25% renewable energy utilization for event’s power needs.

The La Paloma Theater, where the event was held, is connected to the local electricity grid.  The theater does not currently have solar photovoltaic electricity, so all electricity comes from the local electrical grid.

Total electricity used during the event was about 15 kWh. The electrical energy used for one evening of a film screening has very low CO2 emissions compared to other energy usage impacts, such as flying or driving to the event.

Suggestions for Improvement: Given the low electrical energy needs, there is not much that can be done to improve this category except through the installation of a dedicated solar photovoltaic electricity system.  The La Paloma Theater is encouraged to look into Solar PV incentives and options.

The 2017 Red Bull Distance Between Dreams event did not meet the minimum goal for providing greener transportation options with shuttle services for event staff, athletes and media personnel.

Green Guidelines Recommendation: Enable shuttle services, source hybrid/alternative energy powered vehicles, and encourage the use of public and alternative transportation for event spectators. Minimum Goal: provide shuttle service to and from event for event staff, and/or encourage and facilitate the use of human powered modes of transport such as biking, skateboarding and walking by local spectators.

No guidance was provided for guests to minimize their carbon footprint to the event.

Suggested improvements: In the promotional materials and on the ticket-purchase pages, Red Bull could provide alternative transportation encouragement and advice. This would be tuned for the local area of the event.###

The authors on this report are Kevin Whilden, Michael Stewart.